Cool Thing of the Week

At ActBlue, we're about helping campaigns meet donors where they are, and where they are is changing. Not that long ago, email and cellular phones were emerging technologies. Today, they're fully integrated, and an ever-growing number of Americans check their email on their cellular phones. In recognition of that fact, we've launched ActBlue Mobile–now you can support the Democratic candidates of your choice right from your smartphone. 

Donors: did your phone just buzz because you received a fundraising email from a candidate you like? Just click on the link and enter your information the way you would from your home computer or laptop and submit it. You could be on the bus, or taking in the game down at the bar; it doesn't matter. You can play a role in American politics without missing your stop. (Or a critical play!)

We built ActBlue Mobile because we think that American politics should reflect the patterns of  American life, and that the American people shouldn't have to be politicos to be political. It's that very same impulse that led us to build cutting-edge integrations with Twitter and Facebook, and it will continue fuel further innovation is the months and years to come.

Remember, Washington D.C. speaks the language of money and influence. At ActBlue, we're working every day to help you be part of the conversation. 

On Tuesday, the Personal Democracy Forum (PdF) released their "Who to Hire" guide to political technology providers, and we were happy to see that ActBlue took 2nd place overall, with a 4.23/5 rating and the third highest number of survey respondents. If you follow the link above, you'll see that when they broke down the responses by category, ActBlue led decisively across the board:

  • Capacity and Reliability of Software: 2nd
  • Usability of Software: 1st
  • Quality of Customer Service: 2nd
  • Fairness of Pricing: 2nd

No other service provider placed as highly in as many categories. In our internal discussions, these are exactly the categories where we strive to be an industry leader and it was humbling to see that our efforts were recognized by survey respondents. I want to highlight the "Usability of Software" category, and not just because we stand atop the podium.

As Nancy Scola has written, one of ActBlue's core goals is to normalize the act of political giving. That's fancy talk for a pretty simple idea: political giving should be a regular part of American life. You go to work, cook dinner, and after dinner head over to the computer and donate $5 to your preferred candidate.

A lot of the anger Americans feel toward their elected leaders is rooted in the idea that Washington serves special interests rather than the American people. And, to the extent that this intuition is correct, it's because those special interests have a lot of campaign cash to dole out. The obvious answer to this problem is to create an alternate source of funding for our elected officials, so that standing up to special interests isn't such an electorally damaging proposition.

The central idea behind ActBlue is that the American people have the potential to be that alternate source, and at this point we've clearly demonstrated proof of concept. ActBlue has sent $127.3M to thousands of Democratic candidates and committees, with an average donation size of around $100. And ActBlue users send their money to everything from presidential campaigns to mayoral races. As a final note, we practice what we preach: we fund our operations through tips and direct donations from our users.

However, if political giving is going to become a normal part of American life, it has to fulfill two criteria:

  1. It must be easy.
  2. It must be transparent.

I'm going to tackle the second point in a separate entry, as it's a complicated one. But #1 is pretty straightforward. Very few Americans pursue politics as a career. In fact, most of us are preoccupied by our roles as parents, small business owners, or what have you. So, if you want people participate in politics, you have to find a way to slot it into the very busy lives we all lead.

When I see that ActBlue is ranked #1 in terms of usability it tells me that we're making progress toward that goal. Whether you're a campaign or just someone looking to make a difference in the five minutes they have to spare, ActBlue is your best option.

(And, as a final note, it's not just PdF that feels this way. The New Organizing Insitute (NOI) honored us with the Most Valuable Technology award.)


It's been a couple of very busy weeks at ActBlue, but I wanted to take a moment to thank our friends at Roots Camp 2010 for awarding us the Most Valuable Technology certificate. The nomination and award were as welcome as they were unexpected. For our part, we're not planning to rest on our multicolored laurels–in 2010, we plan to earn the title of MVT several times over.

ActBlue and Facebook have more in common than a shared love of compound words: we’ve both created a space for people to make their passions known. With that in mind, it seemed only natural that ActBlue should have a Facebook page.

So take a minute of your Friday afternoon to become a fan of ActBlue on Facebook, and, of course, tell your friends!

We know that you have a lot on your plate, so the ActBlue Facebook page will be the place to read our blog entries and find out about the latest ActBlue news. It has a handy link to our Twitter feed, so you can find out what’s happening in real time.

You’ll also notice a new feature on your ActBlue contribution forms. Effective immediately, you’ll be able to share your donation on Facebook and Twitter. After you donate, just click on the appropriate button (see example below) and you can share your donation with your friends and followers.

ActBlue will automatically generate a wall post or tweet, which you can edit as normal. Furthermore, if you gave through a fundraising page with a thermometer, that thermometer will be appended to your wall post and your friends can join your fundraising effort with a single click:

What does Monk Elmer, a first time Democratic candidate running against a 32 year Republican incumbent in a state senate district in Wisconsin, have to do with ActBlue’s landmark $100 Million fundraising milestone?

According to our records, it was a donation to Monk Elmer’s campaign that pushed us past $100 million! A physician, Elmer just launched his campaign (and has raised over $1,000 on ActBlue). He was recently profiled by his local WI paper, the Post-Crescent where you can learn more information about his background, issues, and how he got the name “Monk”.

It’s not entirely surprising that such a landmark contribution comes from one of of the many state district level candidates that use ActBlue. In fact, it’s candidates like Dr. Elmer which are why we work so hard to democratize fundraising and offer online fundraising tools to support thousands of Democratic campaigns.

Congratulations Monk Elmer- this graphic is all yours.


Anyone can create a personal fundraising page at ActBlue. As a result, there are a lot of people who like to get the political system a little shaken up and bring new money into politics via a personalized ActBlue page. Others are stirred into action at the bequest of someone else's ask to donate through their page.

But whether you are shaken or stirred into political action, ActBlue is ready and waiting for everyone.

And that means everyone- including James Bond.

Those of you with a golden eye may have noticed that 1990's James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan and his wife are hosts of an ActBlue fundraising events page for a Democratic candidate in California's 35th State Assembly District. Fundraising for Democrats certainly has some similarities to film. You often pay a ticket for entry, hope that the candidate becomes a (ballot) box office hit, and you pull for the good guys to win.

Ten years ago, the state of our world was not enough for some voters to become engaged. But today, as he writes in his personal fundraising pitch, Brosnan understands that we can't wait to let the earth die another day.

Susan was critical in our fight to stop the construction of a
dangerous Liquefied Natural Gas terminal off the coast of Malibu and
Oxnard in 2007. In 2008, Susan stopped the construction of a massive
Orange County toll road through San Onofre State Park, the birthplace
of Trestles, a world renown surf spot. Currently, she is fighting to
stop renewed offshore oil drilling off our California coast.

Over the last 15 years, Susan has been a tireless environmental
leader who has taken on the toughest fights in California and won. To
make sure our environment, our communities and our children are
protected, we need her in the California legislature now more than ever.

Democratic candidates need support and they can get that through ActBlue. The idea of setting up your own event or personal fundraising page tomorrow never dies, but there's no reason to delay- click here and get started today!


ActBlue does not take sides in Democratic primaries. All examples are for illustrative purposes only.


Since our inception in 2004, ActBlue has combined cutting edge technology, financial economies of scale, and progressive ingenuity into a dynamic online tool that provides Democrats with a lasting electoral competitive edge.

We began by modestly offering all Democrats the ability to raise online funds for the federal candidates of their choice.  By giving every Democrat–not just the most well-funded organizations–an opportunity to publicly quantify and track their fundraising work, we removed a significant barrier of entry into political participation and opened up campaign finance to a new pool of Democratic activists.  Four years later, ActBlue has expanded to be the nation’s largest conduit of funds to candidates–helping both federal and state level groups–with robust organizing tools that let fundraisers and campaigns mange events online, send “spread the word” emails, and track fundraising in increasingly sophisticated ways.  We’re proud of this growth, but we wouldn’t be staying true to our core mission if we didn’t keep building on it to find better technology, better systems, and–ultimately–better deals for Democrats.  That’s why we have an announcement.

To help your Democratic dollar go as far as it possibly can, we’re converting all monetary units on ActBlue to the euro.


Why Euro?  Why Now?

The euro is a currency in ascendancy.  Since its introduction in 1999, the euro has steadily been growing in world prominence and viability. As our current administration leads the US to economic instability and the dollar continues to plummet in worth, the euro surpasses all other world currencies in circulation and strength.

Noting this trend, we turned a discerning eye on monetary units and realized that by converting your dollars into euros, we could help Democrats reap the biggest benefit  out of each donated amount.

Of course, there are lots of complicated technical and legal permutations going on in the background.  We’re excited to share our findings with you and will be talking more about the details in future weeks.  For today, note the converted monetary amounts on and be assured that we’re doing all we can to make all your hard fundraising work count at the highest level.  If you have questions or thoughts, let us know at and we’ll start the discussion!


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